Have roses really lost their bloom? Have roses luster faded? Are we on the verge of having the great hybrid teas disappear? Forever??
It seems that homeowners and renters looking to pretty up their landscape have been avoiding roses, especially the hybrids. If they do plant roses they go for the easy compact shrub roses.
Not as beautiful. Not as fragrant.
Is that really what has happened to us? In so many areas?
The fast and the easy instead of the important, the challenging?
Yes, the hybrids and the antique roses may be difficult to propogate and grow. Yes, you have to learn how to cut and trim the bushes. In most areas you have to learn how to protect your rose bushes for the winter.
But they give back so much more than they take. A little time, a little knowledge and care and you have a rose bush that will last a lifetime. A bush that you can share with others. And a hobby that you can enjoy while it adds beauty to your yard and your neighborhood.
Surely we don’t want to see themdisappear?
Well, maybe we do. Jackson and Perkins is the premier rose provider for the home gardner and has been for decades. A couple of years ago the company filed for bankruptcy protection.
“Our desire for the carefree – no-iron shirts, no-wax floors, and now low-maintenance yards – has brought California’srose industry to a crossroads.
“At some point, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Landscape) roses will be all you have; the beautiful, unique hybrid teas will be gone,” said Charlie Anderson, president of Weeks Roses, the only major company still creating new varieties of full-size roses“
“The financial ills of the rose growers will cause a slowdown in the number of new varieties of roses that are available for sale,” he said. “Since growers make plans years in advance, it may take a year or two to see the full impact.”
What does all of this mean, especially to the main rose growing area of the Central Valley of California (my home)?
“The annual wholesale value of California’s rose crop dropped 55 percent from a high of $61.05 million in 2003 to $27.20 million in 2010, according to nursery industry expert Hoy Carman, a retired UC Davis professor.”
A Guide To Roses (from the Sacramento Bee, Debbie Arrington)
Garden roses – the type you find in retail nurseries – are divided into classes based on bush size and blooming habit. The major classes include:
• Hybrid tea – The classic rose with long stems and large solitary buds; bushes grow 4 to 6 feet tall. Flowers typically have 25 to 40 petals with new blooms every six to eight weeks. More than 10,000 varieties have been introduced to the commercial market.
• Grandiflora – Introduced in 1954, this cross between a floribunda and a hybrid tea grows 6 to 8 feet tall with massive clusters of tea-size blooms.
• Floribunda – Growing in popularity, this class offers abundant flowers in massive clusters. These roses are rarely out of bloom and tend to stay more compact – a plus for smaller gardens. They’re also hardier than teas and relatively easy care.
• Miniature – As their name implies, these roses look like mini teas or floribundas on compact bushes, which usually stay under 2 feet tall. Popular in borders and pots.
• Miniflora – A new class introduced in 1999, these smaller roses fit between miniatures and floribundas in size.
• Climbers – This class reflects its growing habit – up. With a wide range of flower forms, climbers actually don’t climb, but grow very tall with support – often 20 feet or more.
• Shrub – These bushes like to sprawl, which makes them popular for landscaping. Depending on variety, size ranges from 2 to 15 feet tall. The popular Knock Out, Drift and Simplicity series all are shrubs; they’re ultra-low maintenance, disease-resistant and very hardy. David Austin‘s English-style roses – with 80 or more petals – also are shrubs.
Buy a hybrid tea or climbing rose. Take a short 1 or 2 hour class on caring for roses at your local nurserie, big box store or community college. You will have many summers of enjoyment and beauty for a small investment of time.